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EU animal health policy sits within the framework of the international standards set by the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) and the EU’s obligations under the Sanitary and Phytosanitary Agreement in the context of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) which is aimed at minimising the negative effects of unjustified animal health and food safety barriers on international trade.

EU animal health policy has evolved over several decades and has been developed to provide protection from transmissible animal diseases (both systemic diseases and epidemics). The policy covers all animals in the EU irrespective of whether they are kept for food, farming, sport, companionship, entertainment or in zoos. The policy also covers wild animals and animals used in research where there is a risk of them transmitting disease to other animals or to humans.

In addition to protecting animal health, the EU’s policy is also concerned with animal welfare, human health and food safety. The over-arching objective of the policy is to provide high animal health status for livestock, poultry and fish by controlling animal disease outbreaks and by surveillance and eradication programmes. The policy aims to ensure the smooth and safe operation of the internal EU market in live animals and products of animal origin (including animal by-products) and extends to animals and products imported into the EU.

This policy framework is enacted through both legislative and non-legislative measures. The overriding message behind the policy, introduced from 2007, is that "prevention is better than cure"; underpinning this was an effort to curtail the disproportionate costs and impacts of animal diseases experienced in the EU in the preceding decade.

Download the whitepaper

Download your copy of the 'EU Animal Health Policy: Impact of new EU policy on animal health' whitepaper by Agribusiness Intelligence Consulting Group.

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